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Top 5 Reasons People Abuse Drugs and Alcohol

Person lying down and thinking of the reasons people abuse drugs and alcohol

Why do people abuse drugs or alcohol? If someone you love is affected by addiction, it can be challenging to understand them. Maybe you’ve suggested they enroll in drug or alcohol rehab, but they’ve refused. It is frustrating. However, it might help if you understand the causes of drug and alcohol abuse. Call 888.296.8976 or contact us online to connect with someone from Northpoint Recovery’s team about the common reasons people abuse drugs and alcohol and what our rehab center can do to help your loved one.

1. Using Drugs and Alcohol to Cope with Mental Health Issues

If you’ve never experienced mental health issues like bipolar disorder, anxiety, or depression, it’s hard to grasp the emotional and physical pain they cause. Some turn to drugs and alcohol to alleviate this pain from their mental health struggles.

Learning that mental health issues and substance abuse often co-occur might surprise you. Many examples show how individuals use drugs and alcohol to cope with mental health challenges, such as the following:

  • A veteran who uses drugs to deal with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • A young person who drinks to avoid feeling stressed out or anxious
  • A college student who uses stimulant drugs to deal with depression
  • An overwhelmed mom who uses drugs to help with bipolar disorder symptoms
  • A teenager who smokes marijuana to help with symptoms of an eating disorder

The best way to treat co-occurring disorders is to do so together.

2. Using Alcohol and Drugs to Relieve Stress

Having a high level of stress is a well-known risk factor for drug and alcohol addiction. Stress can affect the body and mind in a complex way. Physically, the body is designed to react because of certain hormones. This is what is known as the “flight or fight response.” People often experience:

  • An increased heart rate
  • Digestive problems
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness

Mentally, people will frequently pick up certain “nervous” habits. Eventually, it becomes more than they can handle. As a result, they’ll give in and use addictive substances to get some relief.

3. Using Prescription Drugs Without Fear of Consequences

People are often surprised by their addiction to prescription drugs. While some are labeled as addictive, many are not required to be by law. Experts suggest women may be more prone to accidental addiction, receiving most prescribed painkillers in the United States. They visit doctors more frequently than men and are affected by conditions that require prescription drugs more often. Female hormones can increase susceptibility to drug abuse, making them more likely to misuse prescription medications.

4. Using Drugs and Alcohol to Find Relief from Painful Memories

It’s not uncommon for individuals to resort to drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism. Often, they seek solace in substances to alleviate emotional anguish stemming from grief or traumatic experiences. While numbing the emotional pain may offer temporary respite, it is merely a quick fix. Eventually, these suppressed emotions resurface with even greater intensity, exacerbating their struggles. Consequently, the cycle of addiction compounds their existing burdens, creating a challenging cycle to break.

5. Using Increasing Amounts of Drugs and Alcohol to Chase a High

A rising tolerance level is one of the most common signs of addiction. People usually find that they periodically need to increase the dosage of the drugs they use. Sometimes, instead of increasing their dosage, they’ll experiment in other ways. For instance, someone who once smoked heroin might begin to inject it instead. Someone who used to swallow their prescription pain medications might start chewing them. All of this to go after that very first feeling of being high.

Get Started with Addiction Treatment in Idaho at Northpoint Recovery

At Northpoint Recovery, we understand the pain of addiction and can help you find an excellent drug or alcohol detox facility to start the recovery process. Contact Northpoint Recovery online or call 888.296.8976 today to learn more about the causes and reasons people abuse drugs and alcohol and how we can help.